Month: February 2019

High altitude reflections: Three insights from the B Corp Leadership Summit on Climate Change

b-corp-summit-skiing-taos

In February, representatives from 35 B Corporations gathered in Taos, New Mexico for the second annual B Corp Leadership Summit, which focused this year on climate change. The topic is my personal passion given my role at 3Degrees, a company whose mission is to make it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change.  B Lab, who convened this event, hoped that the natural beauty and culture of Taos Ski Valley, which is impacted by climate change, would inspire deep conversation, connection, and collaboration. Indeed it did. Here are three key insights I drew from this experience.

Here are three key insights I drew from this experience:

subject-one

Humbled by our collective responsibility: the 12-year window for action

As part of the pre-read materials for the summit, we were encouraged to watch Greta Thunberg’s address at the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. This sixteen-year-old Swedish student began a strike outside the Swedish Parliament to demand governments honor their commitment to the Paris Climate Accord. Her words provide a chilling call to action as we think about the intergenerational responsibility to address climate change.“I don’t want your hope,” Greta said. “I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

As Greta noted, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report provides a sobering case for mobilization within the next 12 years to avoid the likely impacts if the world warms by 1.5°C.  Already, we have witnessed alarming impacts from the current 1.1C of warming, including the extreme heat, storms, floods, and wildfires that ravaged communities around the world in 2018. Future generations will bear the brunt of our collective inaction. It is a humbling reminder of this tremendous responsibility and renewed my personal and professional commitment to galvanize action.

reason-two

The case for interdependence

Throughout the time in Taos, we focused on the importance of both company action and broader community-wide efforts. The attendees came together with a shared conviction that we need to do more. And we also recognize that we cannot do it alone. As our organizations committed to each other in the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence,

We act with the understanding that we are dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”

Hours of conversation and hundreds of post-its notes later, we created a six-month plan with five action groups and a 10-year vision to accelerate climate action. These commitments span company-specific plans, community-wide action, cross-sector collaboration, and public advocacy. And it is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more in the coming months from the B Corp Climate Action Collaborative.

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Focus on where you want to go – not the obstacles

During the summit, we had the chance to enjoy the natural beauty of Taos, and I clipped into downhill skis after a 12-year hiatus. I went out by myself the first day. Truthfully, it was pretty miserable, especially when it started snowing. My mind and body stopped cooperating. Caving to panic, I gracelessly made pizza pie ski marks down the easiest trails.

The breakthrough came the next day when I had the chance to ski with fellow summit attendees. We had a guide, Christine, who offered an insider perspective on the trails and how to navigate what lay ahead. She also provided small, yet priceless, tips as we regained our ski legs. I started trusting myself and the support I had. Christine inspired all our “Green Trail” team to take on some tougher runs than we might not have explored on our own. “Don’t focus on the obstacles,” she counseled us. “Focus on where you want to go.” The progress was exhilarating.

Back at sea-level, the enormity of Greta’s challenge continues to ring in my ears,  especially as I look at my own kids and wonder what kind of world they will inherit. Determining how to tackle the “mountain” that is climate change is daunting. May we heed the sage advice of Christine, though, as we seek to move from panic to action. Together, let’s focus our attention on where we want to go as we take bold steps to reverse global warming.

Photo courtesy of B Lab

Photo courtesy of B Lab

 

 

Etsy leads e-commerce towards carbon neutral shipping

Etsy-case-study-offset-shipping

Becomes first global e-commerce company to offset 100% of shipping emissions

etsy-logoetsy-carbon-goalsEtsy, the global marketplace for unique and creative goods, is committed to using the power of business to strengthen communities and empower people. As Etsy works to connect millions of buyers and sellers around the world and advances their mission of keeping commerce human, the company faces a unique set of challenges for managing carbon impacts and fostering responsible resource use.

Key challenges

Etsy is committed to building long-term climate resilience across their operations. They have set ambitious targets to power their offices and computing infrastructure with 100% renewable electricity and running zero waste operations by 2020. However, in 2018, 98% of Etsy’s carbon impact stemmed from items shipped from Etsy sellers to Etsy buyers. 

While these scope 3 emissions from shipping are outside of Etsy’s direct control, Etsy felt responsible to step up and take immediate action on behalf of the millions of buyers and sellers active in the Etsy marketplace.

To do this, Etsy sought to mitigate this carbon impact through verified emissions reductions – with an eye to catalyzing broader industry change. They have also identified a number of additional levers that they hope can drive carbon reduction longer term, including policy advocacy, vendor negotiation, and peer collaboration.

How we helped

3Degrees-approach-etsy-case-study

3Degrees helped Etsy to identify a portfolio of emission reduction projects to meet their desire for immediate action while fostering more sustainable shipping solutions for the future.

The key elements of the Etsy program designed by 3Degrees are:

  • Environmental integrity. This is the most fundamental aspect of the program design and a core element of every carbon offset sold by 3Degrees. Environmental integrity can generally be broken down into two main components: (a) “additionality,” the notion that the emission reductions would not have been achieved without the promise of funding from carbon offset sales, and (b) rigorous and conservative quantification of the actual emission reductions achieved. All 3Degrees projects are registered under internationally recognized standards maintained by not-for-profit environmental organizations, including the American Carbon Registry (ACR)Climate Action Reserve (CAR), Gold Standard, and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). These standards require that project emission reductions are monitored and quantified on a regular basis and that this quantification and project additionality are independently verified by accredited third parties.
  • Impactful and unique projects to address GHG emissions. Leveraging 3Degrees’ proprietary project portfolio and experience addressing transportation emissions, Etsy’s initial investment is supporting four unique projects. Over time, Etsy’s emission reduction investments will support the development of new projects that provide similar impact.
    • UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project, which reduces air pollution and increases the supply of sustainable forestry products. The Blandin Forest supports the continued conservation of nearly 20 million trees and up to 500,000 new trees will be planted this year.
    • Meridian magnesium project, which manufactures automotive parts that help lightweight vehicles and improve vehicle fuel efficiency. Carbon offsets are generated by reducing the use of SF6, a powerful greenhouse gas that is commonly used in magnesium production for automotive parts.
    • Giriraj Bundled Wind Power Project and The Solar Grouped Project by ACME, which generate clean, renewable wind and solar power, respectively, that displace electricity generated by traditional fossil fuel sources.
  • Strengthen communities. Etsy’s emission reduction projects provide co-benefits important to human health, well-being, and the livelihood of local communities. These projects (a) reduce local air pollution, (b) improve water quality and security and (c) promote biodiversity. The portfolio also includes projects that support renewable energy markets and transportation sector emission reductions.

“Etsy has a long-standing track record of working to reduce our environmental footprint. Our carbon neutral shipping initiative is a major milestone within our larger commitment to act urgently and aggressively in the fight against climate change. We are excited to partner with 3Degrees in order to support projects with a high level of environmental integrity that will evolve with our growing needs.”

–Chelsea Mozen, Sustainability Lead at Etsy

Results

etsy-results

 


Project Spotlight

UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project

Investing in sustainable forest management

blandin-forestry-project

Photo: Richard Hamilton Smith

UPM Blandin Forestry manages 187,876 acres of native, mixed hardwood forests in Minnesota that supply timber to the UPM Blandin paper mill.  The company is committed to sustainable management of these acres and the resulting products. Blandin’s SmartForestrySM practices protect the diversity of natural forest communities, align management with ecological regimes, and reduce harvest impacts. All UPM-Blandin Forestland is Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) certified and all Blandin products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™).

In 2010, working with non-profit partners and the State of Minnesota, Blandin signed a conservation easement that grants public access in perpetuity, guarantees the property will always remain forest and that it will be managed under sustainable practices. This sustainable practice improves carbon dioxide sequestration by the forest which, in turn, is credited under the methodology.

Throughout the span of the carbon offset project, the property will remain a working forest that produces sustainable pulpwood, saw logs, and other high-value forest products for the regional forest industry. The forest supplies 17 facilities in Minnesota, supporting more than 3,200 working families and hundreds more in related businesses.

american-carbon-registry

Supporting Blandin’s conservation efforts provides important co-benefits for the local communities. This forest provides water quality protection, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities for the public. The forest protects a diverse suite of wildlife, including 30 miles of state designated trout streams, 47 species of birds, and over 30 species of mammals including black bear, grey wolf, and moose.

Standard: American Carbon Registry (ACR)

Co-Benefits: Improved local air quality, public use and recreation, biodiversity/habitat.

 

More on 3Degrees Carbon Offsets

UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project

UPM-Blandin-Forestry-Conservation

UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project

UPM Blandin Forestry manages 187,876 acres of native, mixed hardwood forests in Minnesota that supply timber to the UPM Blandin paper mill.  The company is committed to sustainable management of these acres and the resulting products. Blandin’s SmartForestrySM practices protect the diversity of natural forest communities, align management with ecological regimes, and reduce harvest impacts. All UPM-Blandin Forestland is Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) certified and all Blandin products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™).

In 2010, working with non-profit partners and the state of Minnesota, Blandin signed a conservation easement that grants public access in perpetuity, guarantees the property will always remain forest, and that it will be managed under sustainable practices. This sustainable practice improves carbon dioxide sequestration by the forest which, in turn, is credited under the methodology.

Throughout the span of the carbon offset project, the property will remain a working forest that produces sustainable pulpwood, saw logs, and other high-value forest products for the regional forest industry. The forest supplies 17 facilities in Minnesota, supporting more than 3,200 working families and hundreds more in related businesses.

Supporting Blandin’s conservation efforts provides important co-benefits for the local communities. This forest provides water quality protection, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities for the public. The forest protects a diverse suite of wildlife, including 30 miles of state designated trout streams, 47 species of birds, and over 30 species of mammals including black bear, grey wolf, and moose.

blandin-forestry-project

Photo: Richard Hamilton Smith

blandin-forestry-project

Photo: Richard Hamilton Smith

blandin-forestry-project

Photo: Richard Hamilton Smith

3Degrees + carbon offsets

View other project profiles or contact us.

Giriraj Bundled Wind Power Project

Giriraj Bundled Wind Project

The Bundled Wind Power Project is located in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, India and was built to generate power using wind energy and to sell the renewable power generated to the state grid. The wind power generated from the project displaces the electricity generated from coal, diesel, furnace oil, and gas combustion at thermal power stations feeding into the Indian Electricity Grid. The project has a capacity of 112.5 MW and consists of 64 turbines. The revenue from the sale of carbon offsets was necessary to build, operate, and maintain the project.

The Bundled Wind Power Project provides 170,481 MWh of clean, renewable energy annually, which is enough to power 37,093 homes for an average family of four.  The project created local employment opportunities during the construction and operation phases. This renewable energy development has led to infrastructure development in the region, such as expanding roads and access to improved power generation for local businesses.

3Degrees + carbon offsets

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The Solar Grouped Project by ACME

Solar Grouped Project by ACME

The Solar Grouped Project by ACME has 11 project for a combined installed capacity of 381.5 MW.  These solar projects are located on various sites throughout India within the following states: Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Chattishgarh, Telangana, Odisha, and Uttrakhand.

The grouped project was built to generate power using solar energy and to sell the renewable power to the various state grids. Electricity delivered by the projects would have otherwise been generated by the operation of grid-connected coal power plants and by the addition of new fossil fuel generation sources into the Indian grid. The revenue from the sale of carbon offsets was necessary to build as well as operate and maintain the project.

The Solar Grouped Project by ACME provides 747,117 MWh of clean, renewable energy annually, which is enough to power 162,558 homes for an average family of four. The project created local employment opportunities during the construction and operation phases. Renewable energy development has led to infrastructure development in the region, such as the expansion of roads and  access to improved power generation for local businesses, and improved communication with nearby cities.

solar grouped project by ACME India

 

3Degrees + carbon offsets

View other project profiles or contact us.